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YESTERDAY Has Music and Love on Bluray

 

Yesterday cover

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Ultra 4K HD, Bluray/DVD and currently on Digital from director Danny Boyle and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment Is a story of a crazy moment in time, THE BEATLES and a bit of YESTERDAY.

Jack Malik (Himesh Patel) is a struggling musician in the UK who pushes his career but doesn’t seem to find that one break. Ellie (Lily James) has taken the mantle of friend/roadie and manager believing that he has something to offer through his music. Thinking that it’s time to give it all up, there is a strange blackout and Jack is knocked out.

He wakes up to the same world but with one interesting difference, no one seems to have heard of The Beatles. Jack knows every song and every note of their work and decides to play their songs to see what happens. Well, what happens is he is heard by Gavin (Alexander Arnold) who wants to immediately record everything Jack wants to record.

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It turns into a phenomenon and now everyone wants to hear his music, including music executive Debra Hammer (Kate McKinnon). Everything begins to move into high gear and Ellie can’t go where Jack is headed and brings Rocky (Joel Fry) in to look after him. On a whirlwind, Jack finds himself dealing with what is happening and the fact that Ellie now seems so very far away.

Taking notice is musician Ed Sheeran who believes Jack to be the most epic singer/songwriter of the ages. In fact he asks Jack to be part of his opening act. Jack is in awe of all these opportunities that he is being handed but in the back of his mind he knows they are being handed to the wrong person.

That doesn’t mean the weirdness has stopped either but one thing is for sure, Jack must decide if he wants to continue to ride the rollercoaster of fortune and fame or now.

Patel as Malik is a young man who at first doesn’t understand what has made his world turn and is then confused how no one knows who The Beatles are but finds himself wrapped in their musical history. There is the struggle playing the music and feeling a bit of euphoria in the attention. Of course, with all things dishonest, Patel comes to terms with what he could possible lose by continuing the farce. Patel shows every bit of emotion on his face and also in the way he sings.

James as Ellie believes in Malik and doesn’t mind being the roadie/manager on the weekend. Once Malik takes off musically, she comes to terms with the fact that she is not able to follow but also the feelings about her friend. James is sweet and lovely but then again she always is.

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McKinnon as Hammer becomes Malik’s agent but dang if she doesn’t creep me out with a dash of fright added to it. A very intense manager she doesn’t pull any punches and expects Malik to fall in line if he wants to be the biggest in music of all time. I love when McKinnon goes rogue in a character and here she really gets a chance to go off the rails.

It must be said that Rocky (Fry) is an absolute gem. He is the friend we all wish we had and for me it’s because his honesty is brutally funny, he truly cares for Malik and might even have a secret crush on Ellie. He tries to stay out of his friends way but always manages to get a word in anyway.

Ed Sheeran gets a chance to show his musical chops with acting – as himself. I love the interaction between Sheeran and Patel in the kitchen as a case of star struck and ‘who is this?’ happens in one room.

Other cast include Sophia Di Martino as Carol, Ellize Chappel as Lucy, Meera Syal as Sheila Malik, Harry Michell as Nick, Vincent Franklin as Brian, Sanjeev Bhaskar as Jed Malik, Alexander Arnold as Gavin and Robert Carlyle as John. Cameo appearances by James Corden and Ed Sheeran.

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment has just added an amazing film to their library and making it available for us to all experience and re-experience in our own home theaters. There are film of every genre available from scary to drama to family films. For more of what they have to offer please visit www.uphe.com.

MOVIES ANYWHERE gives viewers the ability to download the Movies Anywhere App. With that you can view films by downloading or streaming to your favorite device using a Digital Code. For more information on Movies Anywhere please visit www.MoviesAnywhere.com.

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The Bonus Features on 4K Ultra HD, Bluray, DVD and Digital include Alternate Opening, Alternate Ending, Deleted Scenes, Gag Reel, Live at Abbey Road Studios and Watch Himesh Patel Perform the Song ‘Yesterday’ and More, Ed Sheeran: From Stadium to Screen, Agent of Comedy: Kate McKinnon, A Talented Duo, Playing for Real, Soul Mates, A Conversation with Richard & Ed and Feature Commentary with Director Danny Boyle and Writer/Producer Richard Curtis.

YESTERDAY is a film that takes on our memories of The Beatles in such a way that I found myself thinking ‘wow, what if no one did remember The Beatles?’. It is such an impossibility in my world which makes the film even more endearing. Here is this musician without a cause and when he finds one it happens to be due to one of the biggest influences in music history.

I was actually very honored to hear Himesh Patel perform one of The Beatles songs and he is amazing. Clearly talented in his own right, I can’t imagine anyone else playing the role of Jack. It is a crazy whirlwind film that even in a world without The Beatles, the same conflicts, human relationships, friendships and vices don’t really change much. What Jack brings to the film is that he is constantly in flux with the decisions he is making and never once truly becomes sucked into the world Hammer wants to create.

YESTERDAY is fun and a romantic comedy that just happens to have the fantastic songs of The Beatles in it which is the beautiful music kiss we want. There is a moment between Patel and Carlyle is about as hopeful and tearful as it gets when it comes to the original four musicians we still hold dear as The Beatles.

In the end – everyone in the world has forgotten The Beatles – except Jack!

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Amazon Studios CARNIVAL ROW brings Mystery and Fantasy

Carnival cover

Jeri Jacquin

Currently on Amazon Prime is the first season of an original mystery and fantasy along CARNIVAL ROW.

Vignette Stonemoss (Cara Delevingne) is a fae who has escaped from an attack on her homeland from the Pact. Finding her way to a ship, a storm then sinks it and she is the sole survivor. The ship belongs to Ezra Spurnrose (Andrew Gower) and seeing Vignette as an indentured servant on the ship expects her to now work in his home as a maid. Knowing she must survive in this new place, Vignette visits Carnival Row and finds Tourmaline (Karla Crome). They have so much to catch up on but the biggest surprise is discovering that the man she loves, Philo (Orlando Bloom) is actually alive. Living the past seven years believing he was dead, Vignette is shocked and angry.

Philo is investigating the recent attacks on what are known as fae-folk as a police inspector. Aisling is one of the fae that is murdered and Philo continues to follow the clues. Taking it step by step he talks to everyone involved with the victims only to come up against a man warning him that a creature he calls the “dark-god” is responsible. If that isn’t freaky enough, Vignette makes herself known to Philo and she does so with a vengeance. She doesn’t understand how he could have gone all this time letting her suffer thinking she had lost him and Philo has no answers for her.

Spurnrose lives in the richer part of town with his sister Imogen (Tamzin Merchant) and both are horrified to learn that their new neighbor Agreus (David Gyasi) is a faun which is unacceptable to them. It is considered ridiculous that a creature would try to make his way into society. When Spurnrose finally confides in Imogen that their finances aren’t what they should be, a deal is struck with Agreus – his backing for a new ship for introduction into high society. Imogen agrees to make that happen.

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The Chancellor Absalom Breakspear (Jared Harris) is trying to keep the peace in the city along with his wife Piety (Indira Varma) and son Jonah (Arty Froushan). He knows something is going on and advises them to steer clear of Carnival Row. That doesn’t stop Jonah from being kidnapped but they don’t know who is responsible.

It is finally revealed how Burguish soldier Philo met Vignette. Her village becomes a station for the soldiers are looking for the best location for keeping an eye out for the Pact while fixing the telegraph line. While out, Philo, Vignette and his friend Darius are attacked by wolves. When the Pact attack the village in a brutal way, Vignette is taken away but told that Philo has been killed.

Now, more people are being killed and it is becoming clear that what they have in common is knowing Philo. Vignette is trying to separate herself from him as her anger toward what has happened to her people outweighs any feelings she might have for him. To that effort Philo takes his landlady out for dinner and tries to begin something but he is still in a dark place.

The Chancellor believes that Longerbane (Ronan Vibert) is responsible for the kidnapping but after he meets with disaster, his daughter Sophie (Caroline Ford) steps in and Jonah is actually found. The young man believes he knows who is actually responsible for his capture but doesn’t want to call it out in case he is wrong. Seeing Sophie in chambers for the first time, he is captivated by her but mom Petrie isn’t as happy about it.

As more secrets are brought out in the open, Philo and Vignette realize that they must work together to find out what is killing those in Carnival Row. The landlady isn’t as happy and tells Philo’s officers a secret that she knows about him leading to his arrest for murder.

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The relationship between Agreus and Imogen has her brother aggravated and wants it to stop. He understands that they may need his money but as others in town start offering to socialize with Agreus, he sees no need to keep up appearances for his sister. Chancellor Breakspear wants to help Philo and Vignette but doesn’t realize that he is about to have his life altered by a Puck, the last group that would ever be suspected.

The dominos are starting to fall and it is leading a showdown on Carnival Row that no one could have ever imagined!

Bloom as Philo has the look of a man tortured by his orphaned past, losing his love and seeing the worst of mankind in his role as an officer of the law. When Philo sees Vignette, he is reminded of so much of the past that it could interfere with what is happening right in front of him. Bloom has taken on such a dark character but it wouldn’t be the first time. In CARNIVAL ROW he has the added bonus of so many dark characters all around him and a story that is filled with twists that he fits right in.

Delevingne as Vignette is a fierce fae who isn’t about to put her people or their culture ahead of anything else, except for maybe love. Not a fan of Philo in the beginning, she begins to realize that he doesn’t mean her or the fae any harm. When she thinks him gone, it breaks her heart but not her spirit. She can easily take care of herself but once on Carnival Row, Vignette realizes that her anger at Philo is far down the list of what it takes to survive. Delevinge is quite perfect for this role in that she has the fae look and makes the role her very own and I love that about this character.

Gower as Spurnrose is absolutely yucky from top to bottom of his character and this actor plays it dripping with distain. That’s what makes it such a fantastic role! I can’t stand Spurnrose yet I also can’t wait to see how he’s going to make me dislike him even more and Gower doesn’t disappoint. Merchant as Imogen is as stuck up as one would expect from a woman of her time and station. She doesn’t care about anything or anyone but herself and her finery and yet it takes a Puck to make her see past all of that.

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Gyasi as Agreus is a Puck to isn’t about to let anyone, human or otherwise, tell him how to live his life. Enjoying the fine home he purchased for himself and man-servant Jim, he also has the uncanny knack of knowing what humans are thinking. His relationship with Imogen is not one either is happy about but it does have its clever perks. Crome as Tourmaline sees what her friend Vignette is going through and it hurts her heart but for more reason that either wants to openly admit.

Varma as Piety is a woman who understands the politics that her husband is part of but also enjoys the lifestyle it provides. She also knows that something is changing on Carnival Row and wants her son to stay away. When he is kidnapped, she suspects everyone. Froushan as Jonah is a young man who is use to a certain lifestyle and doesn’t have much expected of him. Smothered by his mother and feeling like he is disappointing his father, he finds a strange solace at Carnival Row. Ford as Sophie begins to provide Jonah with another kind of distraction and no one is pleased about it. She is a strong character who doesn’t mind breaking the rules in order to get higher up in the ranks.

Harris as the Chancellor continues to be on an amazing streak of roles in the last few years. I absolutely love everything he does including the recent HBO mini-series CHERNOBYL, the AMC series THE TERROR, and the series THE CROWN. There is a presence about this actor that I’m drawn to see what role he will take next and in CARNIVAL ROW he once again is full of human frailty hidden under the robes of politics – even if it is the politics of the different.

Shout out to Alice Krige as Aoife who also is an actress that I follow because she is so multi-dimensional and in CARNIVAL ROW she is creepy yet honestly a character I was never afraid of. Of course Aoife could probably turn me into a toad if she wanted but there is something straight forward in this role that I appreciated and was fascinated by.

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Other cast include Ariyon Bakare as Darius, Maeve Dermody as Portia Fyfe, Jamie Harris as Sgt. Dombey, Waj Ali as Constable Berwick, James Beaumont as Constable Cuppins, Jim High as Fergus, Erika Starkova as

Aisling and Simon McBurney as Runyon Millworthy.

This year CARNIVAL ROW made a showing at San Diego Comic Con International 2019 and the crowd couldn’t have been happier. Of course what made it even more special was that Bloom and Delevingne hid underneath costumes so that the big reveal brought the crowd to their feet with cheers. The audience was then treated to a special screening of the series and some even lucky enough to walk away with a pair of very luminescent wings. I knew then that the show was something special and am pleased to say that there will a second season.

I absolutely love the darkness of the show and I don’t mean the less than colorful costuming but the story and the characters that are wrapped up in every fiber of it all. Just when you think it’s all figured out – nope! Let’s be honest, the show starts out in a million knots and we are left, episode by episode, to unravel it like a fine chain necklace. Those who have ever tried to get knots out of a fine chain necklace know exactly what I’m talking about.

Vague in this review? Absolutely. There is no way I want to dive to deeply into the story because that is what makes CARNIVAL ROW such a draw. There is a lot going on so instead of giving it all away, I brought out some of the characters that I appreciated because something tells me we haven’t heard the last from any of them (well, maybe a few of them).

The story is based in a fantastical mythology of fae, pucks, spells, history, culture and a tale that is all too familiar in that what is different people are afraid of. By the end of the series you will understand why a second season is not only needed but necessary. I personally want to see where Philo and Vignette are going to take this journey of theirs and for reasons you will see when you binge watch the first season of CARNIVAL ROW on Amazon Prime.

In the end – they each have a story to tell!

SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK

Scary stories

 

Jeri Jacquin

In theatres now from director Andre Ovredal, Entertainment One and Lionsgate comes the tale of kids and SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK.

It is fall in Mill Valley, PA in 1968 and Halloween has brought out mischief. Stella (Zoe Colletti) and friends Auggie (Gabriel Rush) and Chuck (Austin Zajur) had plans of their own as town bully Tommy (Austin Abrams) is the object of their pranks. When it doesn’t turn out well, the three have to hide and find protection in Ramon’s car (Michael Garza).

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Getting to know their rescuer, the gang decides to do their own Halloween by visiting the local haunted house. Once owned by the Bellows family, it has a history for spookiness and rumor. Stella tells the story of Sarah Bellows, a woman who was kept in the basement of her family home but no one really knew why.

Finding the room in the basement, Stella finds a book of her stories while at the same time Tommy found all of them! Taking it with them when they manage to get out, they have no idea what they have unleashed.

The book begins to tell stories and Stella is shocked to learn that the tales come true. Beginning with Tommy, she realizes that everyone that was in the basement is now a target. Ramon stays in town to help find the answers as they dig into town records about the Bellows and discover the truth.

They are running out of time and friends!

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Colletti as Stella is front and center of the film as a young girl dealing with feelings about her mother while taking care of her father. Growing up with her two buddies, she still feels alone and spends her time writing. Colletti gives her character vulnerability, smarts and a fearlessness that I found myself cheering for without realizing I was doing it.

Garza as Ramon is passing through town but has a nosey sheriff keeping tabs on him. Helping Stella and friends brings him problems from the town bully but those are minor compared to what follows them all. This young actor keeps it together while friends Auggie and Chuck don’t.

Rush as Auggie is a little different than most boys his age and that is the reason Stella hangs out with him. Zajur as Chuck not only is the smarty pants of the bunch but also loves to make sister Ruth, played by Natalie Ganzhorn, miserable. Ganzhorn is the drama queen in every sense of the word and with very good eight legged reason to be.

Other cast include Gil Bellows as Chief Turner, Lorraine Toussaint as Lou Lou, Will Carr as Ephraim Bellows and Kathleen Pollard as Sarah Bellows.

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SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK has everything suspenseful and very cool special effects. The story is set in an era that is becoming more popular in film and you won’t get a complaint out of me about that. There is something very special about films that are filled with cell phones, loud music, guns, and all the things we’ve become desensitized to.

This film is a good scary yarn that is filled with a few jumps, creepy music, a back-story and kids so that’s a start. That being said, the premise of the film is one I have seen before. Not a reinvention of the horror genre wheel by any stretch, it’s a nice get-a-big-tub-of-popcorn-to-share film with friends (but go to the matinee).

In the end – stay out of scary houses!

A DOG’S JOURNEY Continues to be Heartwarming on Bluray

dogs journey cover

Jeri Jacquin

On Bluray/DVD and Digital from director Gail Mancuso, Amblin and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment comes the continuing story of Boss Dog in A DOG’S JOURNEY.

Bailey (voiced by Josh Gad) is with Ethan (Dennis Quaid) and Hannah (Marg Helgenberger) on the farm. Also living at the farm is granddaughter CJ which makes Bailey very happy. Not so happy is her mother Gloria (Betty Gilpin) who seems to be centered on her own life and less on CJ’s.

That leads to Gloria taking CJ away from Ethan, Hannah and Bailey and running off. Saddened, Ethan discovers that something is wrong with Bailey and before he moves on knows that he must find CJ.

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Many years have passed and Bailey, now Molly, smells CJ! She takes the dog home as her best friend Trent adopts fur-brother Rocky. Eventually Mom Gloria finds out and wants Molly gone but CJ puts her own foot down.

Growing up together, CJ tells Trent that she wants to move to New York to pursue music with her inheritance. She believes the story that Gloria told her about how the grandparents tried to take it. Surprisingly enough, Ethan and Hannah try to visit but CJ doesn’t know they are there – but Molly does. Immediately Ethan recognizes who Molly is and reminds him to take care of CJ.

Years go by and CJ (Kathryn Prescott) is in New York writing music and walking dogs and comes to the attention of a little Biewer named Max aka Bailey. Max discovers that childhood friend Trent (Henry Lau) lives in the same building as CJ and finds a way to reunite them.

This isn’t the only relationship that needs to be reunited as CJ finds the will to help a friend in need, discover that all mother’s aren’t the same, that her grandparents are amazing and that dogs have always been in her life for a reason!

It is a dog’s journey along side those who need him!

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Gad as Bailey, Molly, Big Dog and Max returns to do what he does best, make everyone fall in love with what ever character he is playing. From Olaf from FROZEN and now Bailey the loveable and sweet dog, Gad doesn’t just let us in, he hugs us the entire way. I’m so pleased he stayed with A DOG’S series of films.

Prescott as CJ is all grown up and comes to terms with her relationship with Gloria, Trent and the grandparents who have been waiting for so long to see her. She is sweet and endearing from beginning to end. Lau as Trent believes in his friend CJ and knows that she is more special than she could ever have imagined. Gilpin as Gloria is a woman who gets lost in her own loss life and forgets that CJ needs her.

Quaid as Ethan returns as the only person who realizes that Bailey returns again and again with the promise to keep all of them safe. Helgenberger as Hannah is devastated when CJ leaves and does her best to believe that someday they will be together again.

Other cast include Abby Fortson as young CJ, Ian Chen as young Trent, Emma Volk as toddler CJ, Johnny Galecki as Henry, Jake Manley as Shane, Daniela Barbosa as Liesl, Conrad Coates as Big Joe, Arlene Duncan as Hilda and Kevin Claydon as Barry.

Universal Studios Home Entertainment has just added an amazing film to their library and making it available for us all to experience and re-experience in our own home theatres. There are films of every genre available from scary to drama to family films. For more of what they have to offer please visit www.uphe.com.

MOVIES ANYWHERE gives viewers the ability to download the Movies Anywhere App. With that you can view films by downloading or streaming to your favorite device using a Digital Code. For more information on Movies Anywhere please visit www.MoviesAnywhere.com.

FILM-JOURNEY-REVIEW

The Bonus Features include Gag Reel, A Dog’s Sequel, Everyone’s Best Friend, Working with Dogs, A Healing Journey, Scoring the Journey, and Feature Commentary with Director Gail Mancuso.

 Also Deleted and Extended Scenes including It’s Gonna Work, A Song for Molly, You Can Stay Here, Just Do the Laundry, Let’s Get Started, Gloria Looks at Henry’s Things, This Place is Huge, It’s Really Happening and I’ve Loved You Forever.

A DOG’S JOURNEY is completely beautiful, heartwarming, and touching filled with everything dog lovers want in a film. The added sweetness of this film is that it is relatable on so many levels because it isn’t just about a dog. It’s about friendship, loyalty and love whether you have two legs or four.

We should all be so rewarded in life with a friend like Boss-Dog who loves unconditionally, protects fiercely and only wants the best for us. Let us remember that that goes both ways.

In the end – some friendships transcend lifetimes!

THE REFLECTING SKIN is a Film of Twisted Brilliance

reflect cover

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to DVD from Film Movement Classics and writer/director Philip Ridley is the stunning classic THE REFLECTING SKIN.

Seth Dove (Jeremy Cooper) is a young man living in 1950s Idaho farmland country with parents Luke (Duncan Fraser) and Ruth (Sheila Moore). The days are long and Seth spends time with friends Eben (Codie Wilbee) and Kim (Evan Hall). Three young boys together sometimes brings about mischief.

One such gathering the boys pull a prank on neighbor lady Dolphin Blue (Lindsay Duncan) and Seth feels momentary guilt. Back at home the young boy deals with a mother who treats him in almost sadistic ways and finds a bit of solace with his father who speaks rarely. Trying to talk with him, Luke introduces his son to the idea of vampires in a book he is reading.

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Seth is in trouble about a frog incident and must go to Dolphin to apologize. She tells him a little about herself and in the midst of a joke that he takes wrong decides she is a vampire. Eben goes missing so Seth and Kim decide to sneak into the neighbor’s house to see what she may be hiding. After a fright, he runs home and accidentally finds his friend.

That sets his parents on edge and disaster comes from it with a town that holds a grudge on a past secret. This brings home Seth’s older brother Cameron (Viggo Mortensen) who finds himself taken with Dolphin Blue. Now that his mother is in a state, the boy finds that he needs his brother even more.

But Cameron finds solace with Dolphin and tells her of the bomb experiments he was a part of in the war while Seth peeks in on them both. When he sees that his brother may be getting ill, he is more convinced Dolphin is a vampire killing his brother. More tragedy strikes the town and there are more questions than answers.

In that tragedy Seth believes he has found a way to save his brother from a monster that lives so close to home.

Cooper as the young Seth is absolutely brilliant for a young actor to play this very disturbing role. From the way he spoke to the characters clothing, Cooper made that secondary to his performance. Disturbing is too small a word for Seth yet it was impossible to take my eyes off of him.

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Duncan as neighbor Dolphin Blue is beautiful, extraordinary and holds a solemn and strangely peaceful attitude toward her life but will let out a scream with ease. Her handling of Seth is sometimes amusing and its probably there conversation on the rode that amused me the most with its disturbing content.

Mortensen as Cameron is a young man who returns from war only to find that coming home is really the last thing he wanted to do. It is Dolphin that gives him light in a dark place and he embraces it immediately. This is one of Mortensen’s first roles and had I seen this film earlier I would have said then what I believe now and that is he has a presence on screen that is a mixture of tough, charming and painful all rolled into him.

Other cast include David Longworth as Joshua, Robert Koons as Sheriff Ticker, Jason Wolfe as Cadillac Driver, Walt Healy as the Old Man, Sherry Bie as Cassie, and Jeff Walker as Adam Blue.

Celebrating its 17th year in 2019, Film Movement has released more than 250 feature films and shorts culled from prestigious film festivals worldwide, and last year it had its first Academy Award-nominated film, THEEB. Film Movement’s theatrical distribution strategy has evolved to include promising American independent films, documentaries, and an even stronger slate of foreign art house titles. Noted directors Film Movement brings are Eric Rohmer, Peter Greenaway, Bille August, Marleen Gorris, Takeshi Kitano and Ettore Scola. For more information, please visit www.filmmovement.com.

The DVD includes the Bonus Features of Angels & Atom Bombs: The Making of THE REFLECTING SKIN, Commentary with writer/director Philip Ridley and New Essay by Travis Crawford and Heather Hyche.

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THE REFLECTING SKIN is a film with so many layers that eventually level into one. There is a strangeness, horror, mystery, intensity, beauty and a draw to go down the road of the story even if something tells us not to. Each character has fears of their own yet survival makes a convenient blinder.

Small towns have big secrets and this place has one that they use to quickly fill in the gap tragedy often leads. It isn’t important whether or not it’s the true; it makes whatever sadness permeates the people easier to serve up with their evening meals. The vampires are secondary to my way of thinking.

A film such as THE REFLECTING SKIN will leave its cinematic mark and I am thrilled to have had the chance to experience it.

In the end – sometimes terrible things happen quite naturall

AFTER THE WEDDING Brings the Past Present

after the wedding cover

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres from director Bart Freundlich and Sony Pictures Classics comes a family that once was and what can be AFTER THE WEDDING.

Isabel (Michelle Williams) is living in Kolkata, India and a co-founder of an orphanage that is in serious need of funding. In New York, Theresa Young (Julianne Moore) is a woman who not only has made a lot of money but is about to sell her business to come into even more money. She contacts Isabel asking her to come to New York to discuss the details.

Isabel steps into a world wind as Theresa is also in the middle of planning the wedding of her daughter Grace (Abby Quinn). Thinking the deal was done, it is upsetting to Isabel to learn that it might not be the case. Theresa wants to get to know her better an invites her to the wedding.

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Arriving a little late, Isabel settles in to witness the rest of the ceremony and looking around she sees Theresa and her husband Oscar (Billy Crudup) and is shocked. It quickly becomes clear that she knows him which means a past trust has been broken.

Now there are three adults that need to talk about what has happened in the past and how it will affect the future. Grace learns about the secrets Isabel, Theresa and Oscar are hiding but one secret leads to another. Time is something none of them have as they each must decide how far forgiveness and family are to go.

Williams as Isabel is a quiet woman who wants what is best for the orphanage and the children she wishes to help. When their funding runs low, she must decide how important life in India is and what she will give up to keep it all going. Williams has the unique ability to keep a strong face when her character’s past comes knocking. Then again there isn’t a performance where I have much wrong to say about Williams, she is amazing.

Moore as Theresa is a woman making changes in her life selling her business, raising twin boys, marriage to Oscar and putting on a wedding for Grace. An actress that always put something more into a role that shines through, once again Moore gives us everything and so much more. Opposite Williams it is two of the best in a story that challenges every human emotion.

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Crudup as Oscar is a man with a past and now it is come front and center deserving answers. He is rather calm and collected for a man who’s world is about to come crashing in different directions. Of course his decisions of the past don’t cause him to be sorry in the present either. Yes, I’m being vague; I mean I can’t give you everything!

Quinn as Grace is the one who is confronted with the secrets but then again she might have one of her own about her own life choices. Quinn gives a strong performance trying to fit all the pieces together so she can also find peace.

Other cast include Azhy Robertson as Otto, Alex Esola as Jonathan, Alex Cranmer as Eddie, Eisa Davis as Tanya, Susan Blackwell as Gwen, Mackenzie Owens as young Grace, Jeff Kim as Simon and Greta Quispe as Cibele.

AFTER THE WEDDING comes face to face with three adults and life choices. Of course some are difficult and some are life-altering but then again that is life itself right? We all do things we wish could have been changed somewhere along the line and there are family issues we don’t want to think about any more than we have to. That is the case with this film.

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Isabel, Theresa and Oscar are connected on so many levels by those choices and these three actors brought the pain front and center forcing us to become involved whether we want to or not. That is because everything they are saying and feeling we have all said or felt in some shape or form so we want them to do better. Perhaps we want it all to be cleaner than our own situations but then again that would make the film fantasy wouldn’t it.

AFTER THE WEDDING will test heartstrings, bring tears and make us all ask ourselves ‘what would I do?’ The conversation is there to be had and that’s what makes this film worthy to watch.

In the end – every family has secrets!

BREAKTHROUGH Inspires Faith

break

 

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray/DVD and Digital from director Roxann Dawson and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment is a true story about faith in family that has a BREAKTHROUGH.

The Smith family is going through a difficult time as 14-year-old John (Marcel Ruiz) is struggling. Mom Joyce (Chrissy Metz) and Dad Brian (Josh Lucas) are divided on how to handle it. Mom wants to find answers and Dad wants to give John his space. Strong in their faith, they attend church where Pastor Jason (Topher Grace) is also struggling as his congregation isn’t quite sure how to handle a progressive leader.

All of that seems ridiculous when the real struggle of life happens for John. Having a day with his friends, they slide around on Lake Saint Louis even after being warned from a bystander that it might not be such a great idea. In a sudden movement, the ice gives way and all three boys find themselves in the ice waters.

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Two boys manage to stay above water but John can not hold on and begins to sink. Paramedics and law enforcement arrive as Tommy Shine (Mike Colter) jumps in the water to find John. After a few moments the young boy is retrieved and off to the hospital where Dr. Sutterer (Sam Trammell) tries everything he knows to bring the boy back.

Joyce has minutes to watch her sons heart start beating again as he is transferred to a hospital where specialist Doctor Garrett (Dennis Haysbert) takes over. Joyce makes it very clear that he is to do everything to save her son. Brian can not even bare to see his son and waits with family and friends who begin a firestorm of prayer.

The power of love can make believers of us all.

Metz as Joyce is a strong woman who becomes a fierce mother. She demands positivity from everyone around John and when fear comes into play it can seem harsh. Personally I don’t think she was as I would do anything for my kids. That being said it is during John’s time in the hospital that change occurs in many people and Metz’s character is the main focus of that change. Lucas as Brian is a little disconcerting in many ways but we all handle stress differently. It is what happens in the end that will define this character.

Ruiz as John is struggling as any teenager would be trying to find his place in a world that doesn’t seem to quite fit. Colter as Tommy is a man who outwardly claims to not believe yet wants to understand what really happened out on the lake that tragic day.

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Haysbert as Dr. Garrett answers the family’s questions according to what he sees on the charts. Only when he is challenges by Joyce does he begin to realize that sometimes it’s not what’s in the charts but what the patient is capable of on his own. Grace as Pastor Jason does what a pastor knows is right, being with the Smith family even if there is a wedge in the relationship with Joyce. Grace’s character has his own insecurities and Joyce doesn’t make it easy but his line after she mentions it’s not a good time is “I know, that’s why I’m here” is a smacker.

Other cast include Rebecca Staab as Cindy Reiger, Victor Zinck Jr. as Joe Morrow, Ali Skovbye as Emma, Lisa Durupt as Paula, Stephanie Czajkowski as Melissa, Nancy Sorel as Mrs. Abbott, Isaac Kragten as Josh and Chuck Shamata as the Fire Chief.

The Bluray and DVD include the Special Features A Tapestry of Miracles: Making BREAKTHROUGH, “Carry My Soul” Phil Wickham Deleted Scene, Trapped in Icy Waters, Audio Commentary by DeVon Franklin and Roxann Dawson and Gallery.

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment brings award-winning global product and new entertainment to DVD, Bluray, and Digital HD. There amazing collection offers fans an opportunity to expand their own home libraries with the best films. To discover what other titles they have please visit www.fox.com.

MOVIES ANYWHERE gives viewers the ability to download the Movies Anywhere App. With that you can view films by downloading or streaming to your favorite device using a Digital Code. For more information on Movies Anywhere please visit www.MoviesAnywhere.com.

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BREAKTHROUGH is based on a true story of the Smith family and their struggle with family, faith and individual self doubts. Falling through the ice, it is over an hour later before the hospital can get a heart beat. John says of his ordeal, “When I fell through the ice I felt cold, the shock. I remembered my life flashing through my eyes and my family. Sixteen days later I walked out of the hospital. I had physical therapy but only for a bit of problems with my wrist. God still does the impossible!”

The film is a story of family, faith, community and those who stood by the Smith family even if they didn’t quite understand how it all happened and learned what a miracle looks like in the face of John.

In the end – it’s all about divine intervention!

STRANGER THINGS Season 3 Brings More Frights in Friendship

 

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Jeri Jacquin

Currently on Netflix with its continuing story is the highly successful and long awaited STRANGER THINGS Season 3.

It is 1985 and Hawkins has fallen to shopping malls causing the shops in town to begin closing. The Starcourt Mall is now the hangout for everyone who wants to see and be seen. Mike (Finn Wolfhard) and Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) aren’t seen there much because they’ve been spending quality time together much to the dismay of El’s guardian Officer Hopper (David Harbour).

Looking for parental tips, Hopper turns to Joyce (Winona Ryder) who is coming to terms with her choice to move away from Hawkins. That doesn’t give Hopper much time to deal with his feelings about anything. The rest of the gang – Will (Noah Schnapp), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) and Max (Sade Sink) welcome Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) back from science camp.

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At the nearby steel mill, something wicked this way comes and Mike is feeling it on the back of his neck. The power goes out and a weird creature emerges from the darkness. Max’s brother Billy (Dacre Montgomery) is on his way for a rendezvous when his car is struck by an invisible force and without warning he is dragged into the Upside Down.

The tips Joyce gave to Hopper about Mike and El didn’t work out so well and Mike now fears to be around El. She doesn’t understand it but Max shows her the fun side of life with a trip to the Starcourt Mall and another way for El to use her powers. At the local paper, Nancy (Natalia Dyer) gets Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) to help her investigate a local woman who is having a weird rat problem.

Dustin is still weirding out by the hilltop transmission that sounds like Russian and convinces Steve (Joe Keery) to help figure it out. What they both don’t expect is that Robin (Maya Hawke) who works with Steve is more than happy to lend her language ear to the problem at hand.

Discovering the joys of the mall, El and Max decide to spy on the guys again with powers but Eleven only discovers that Billy may be responsible for a missing lifeguard. Billy is changing and he can’t explain why he is making dangerous choices. Hopper finally asks Joyce on a date but she loses track of time when her refrigerator magnets lose their magnetism.

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Dustin, Steve and Robin make a chilling discovery when they see Russians moving shipments of mysterious crates down into the mall. Nothing is going to stop these three from uncovering what is going on below their town and they find help from the very smart and no-nonsense Erica (Priah Ferguson).

What they don’t know is that Joyce and Hopper have gone to high school teacher Murray Bauman (Brett Gelman) for answers about the magnets. It leads them back to the place they didn’t want to ever go again. That’s when they take Russian scientist Dr. Alexi (Alec Utgoff) sort of hostage to get answers as to what is happening but they are being chased mercilessly.

Nancy and Jonathan are still trying to discover what has happened to the source of their story. Once at the hospital, the two are also attacked by something, well, gooey that comes together to create an insanely large beast! Still below the mall, Steve and Robin are interrogated by Russians but Dustin and Erica save the date.

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Now above ground, they all manage to come together to put the pieces of the monster puzzle together. El discovers from Billy the exact location of the beast and now a plan is formed as the gang handles the food court, Dustin handles the communications while Joyce and Hopper take on the reason for all of this happening again.

What the Russians and the monster don’t realize is that this group isn’t afraid of taking hard knocks and they have El on their side!

Brown as Eleven is growing up so fast and under the protection of her guardian and new boyfriend. Her world is still relatively small until Max shows her what she’s been missing. Of course that doesn’t last long but Brown has made the character of Eleven her very own and I love when she embraces her powers.

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Wolfhard as Mike is smitten with Eleven and wants to spend every minute with her. Of course this doesn’t set well with his buddies, especially with Will. The other person it doesn’t make happy is Harbour as Officer Hopper. Trying to keep his ‘fatherly’ instincts in check, it is policeman instincts that take over and are a little harsher than poor Mike can take. Harbour is a little more intense this season but then again I think I would be too if the town I’m responsible for can’t catch a break.

Matarazzo as Dustin returns from science camp with a new outlook and a new love even though no one believes him. I adore Matarazzo because he is quick and hilarious all rolled into mischievous eyes and a quirky smile. Keery as Steve is thrilled to see Dustin as their friendship finds another level – that of Russians and being a hero to the town. Hawke as Robin is a breath of fresh air and don’t like the ice cream costume fool you. She’s smart as a whip and has a secret of her own.

Ryder as Joyce is still dealing with the death of Bob Newby and can’t quite catch on to Hopper’s intentions. The one thing she is sure of and that’s there is a creepy in Hawkins that she knows all too well. Ryder continues to give her character everything I remember about Moms of 1985. Schnapp as Will understands the creepy as it tends to bring goose bumps to the back of his neck. Of course he’d rather be playing D&D with his friends but they all have other plans.

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McLaughlin as Lucas keeps busy with his relationship with Max but is also surprised when Ferguson as sister Erica joins the mix and madness. Ferguson as Erica is smart, doesn’t take any garbage from anyone and has a thing for ice cream which is a good thing for Steve, Robin and Dustin! Sink as Max is a fiery redhead who has the chance to solidify her friendship with El through fashion and boy advice. Montgomery as brother Billy gets the intensity award this season! He lives through the creature and throughout the season it just gets worse and worse. What a great role for the season!

Dyer as Nancy smells a story and nothing or no one is going to get in the way of her investigating.  Heaton as Jonathan doesn’t want to follow Dryer’s character but it all starts to make horrible sense and he can’t turn away.  Gelman as teacher Murray Bauman carries all the science and language and finds himself deep into all that is happening to the town, what’s under the town and the people in it.  Utgoff as Dr. Alexi thinks he holds all the cards so get the man a cherry slurpee and get on with it!

Other cast include Cara Buono as Karen Wheeler, Joe Chrest as Ted Wheeler, Andrey Ivchenko as Grigori, Cary Elwes as Mayor Kline, Peggy Miley as Mrs. Driscoll, Jake Busey as Bruce, Francesca Reale as Heather Holloway, Michael Park as Tom Holloway, Rob Morgan as Officer Powell, Arthur Darbinyan as Dr. Zharkov and Misha Kuznetsov as Ozerov.

The episodes include Chapter One: Suzie Do You Copy?, Chapter Two: The Mall Rats, Chapter Three: The Case of the Missing Lifeguard, Chapter Four: The Sauna Test, Chapter Five: The Flayed, Chapter Six: E. Pluribus Unum, Chapter Seven: The Bite and Chapter Eight: The Battle of Starcourt.

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 Season 3 of STRANGER THINGS has to be the most intense yet and with that being said, watch carefully the last few moments of the last episode. That means Season 4 has it’s work cut out yet I think the writers have accepted the challenge. As these characters have grown older, I can’t wait to see what they all do next in the season and in other things. Brown already tested her chops in the summer film GODZILLA.

What I love best about STRANGER THINGS is everything about the era the story takes place in. From the outrageous clothes, shoes and hair to the music that I still embrace and listen to today. Wrapping the story around the setting of an era we still hold dear is so much fun and brings back memories for some of a time when things like bike riding, malls, friendships and big hair were more important than cell phones and texting.

All of the friendships are so endearing and even though they are growing up (both on and off camera), it hasn’t changed this group in the way they interact with each other. It is totally believable that they would have been friends in 1985, played D&D, went to the mall, and watched early zombie movies – all of it. This cast, these actors and actresses have given us a treat and when the final season comes around (because we all know its going to happen), we will be all the sadder for it.

The downside of binge watching the whole season in one day is that the waiting begins for the next season. Of course it will drag its heels making us all crazy with wonder and craving the first trailer of what is to come. It’s a pretty cool torture and I don’t mind saying so.

In the end – friends like these are amazing and necessary!

OPHELIA Tells Another Story 

Ophelia cover

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres this Friday from director Claire McCarthy and IFC Films comes her life from a different point of view with OPHELIA.

Ophelia (Daisy Ridley) is a young spirited girl who is being raised by father Polonius (Dominic Mafham) and devoted to brother Laertes (Tom Felton). Not exactly lady-like as most women in court, it is Queen Gertrude (Naomi Watts) who embraces the motherless girl.

Hamlet (George MacKay) also has an eye for Ophelia but knows they can’t be together. Feeling she is not a beautiful as other women in the court, Ophelia is often taunted by lady-in-waiting Cristiana (Daisy Head).

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While away with friend Horatio (Devon Terrell), Hamlet learns that his father has died. Before he arrives, Uncle Claudius (Clive Owen) has not only taken the throne but married Gertrude.

Hamlet rekindles his feelings for Ophelia but they both know that something isn’t right in court. There are secrets, plots, ghosts, potions and when Hamlet makes a fatal error, the young couple has no choice but to call out those responsible.

Their love carries the highest price of all!

Ridley as Ophelia takes this iconic character of tragedy and dives deep into another perspective of the happenings in court. Keenly aware that she isn’t high-born, this telling of Ophelia gives her survival instincts and the ability know when to speak and when to stay silent. Ridley embraces it all and gives a stellar performance that, frankly, blew me away.

Watts as Gertrude has the opportunity to also tell another side of her story in a way that is both shocking and completely sad. The duality of her role is based in desires, sadness and torn between what she wants and what is happening around her. All of this affecting the life of her only son Hamlet.

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Owen as Claudius has the opportunity to be cruel, ruthless and a plotting fiend. Not that Owen hasn’t had the opportunity to have those traits in other roles, just not all at the same time so perfectly. Claudius clearly has one goal – castle domination.

MacKay as Hamlet is taken with Ophelia and he would do anything to protect her, even leave the castle. Returning under circumstances that are entirely questionable, he decides to take control of his fate and love for Ophelia. Claudius keeps his eye on Hamlet and one tragic effect gives the twisted king an opportunity to tighten his grip on the throne. MacKay gives Hamlet such heart and a man with a plan.

Felton as Laertes is a devoted brother who wants the best for his sister but at the same time wants to get as far away as possible from the castle and the mayhem inside it. Felton takes more steps away from the wizarding world and shows his scientific chops in this role.

Head as Cristiana is the lady-in-waiting that is the weight around Ophelia’s neck. Terrell as Horatio is Hamlet’s friend and his main role is to keep the prince out of trouble and making sure Ophelia knows his true heart.

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Other cast include: Sebastian De Souza as Edmund, Martin Angerbauer as Guildenstern, Noel Czuczor as Rosencrantz, Rupesh Tillu as Yorick, Angela Nwagbo as Viola, Anna Rust as Young Mechtild, Jack Cunningham-Nuttall as Young Hamlet and Mia Quiney as Young Ophelia.

Director McCarthy takes from the adaptation by Semi Chellas. This producer and writer is also known for The Romanoff’s, Mad Men and American Woman.

This telling of young Ophelia stays on target to what she sees, hears, experiences and brings that all together in this film. In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, she has her part to play but in truth the story isn’t about her, only the effects of what happened to her. OPHELIA is intelligent, lovely and cinematically ethereal.

Ridley and MacKay play the star crossed lovers in a very sweet way but are both being torn in directions that keep moving them closer together emotionally but farther apart physically. They both know who is responsible but each can only do their part from their stations in life. This story of Ophelia is smart and still staying with the twists and turns of the Shakespeare tale.

In the end – experience Hamlet through her eyes!

 

 

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